Clarksville, TN – Local farmers call him “Doc,” but don’t let the informal nickname fool you. Whenever they see Dr. Gaines Hunt, retired Austin Peay State University (APSU) professor of Agriculture, the word “Doc” sounds oddly formal.
“It’s a nickname, yes, but also a term of endearment and used with the highest level of admiration and respect,” Steve Settle, a Montgomery County farmer and former student of Hunt’s, said. “Each and every one of his students—myself included—will attest that we are better people, better leaders and better able to serve our chosen professions because of his influence in our lives.”Hunt, an APSU graduate, retired from the University in 2006 after a 35 year career as professor and Chair of Agriculture and Dean of College of Science and Math. Earlier this month, a group of his former students and colleagues met at the APSU Farm and Environmental Education Center to announce they had raised more than $32,000 to create the Dr. Gaines Hunt Endowed Scholarship in Agriculture.
“We are forever indebted to Dr. Hunt for his countless contributions to APSU, our agriculture program, our ag alumni and community, and now for this lasting legacy to our current students,” Dr. Don Sudbrink, chair of the APSU Department of Agriculture, said.
In August 2015, more than 100 former APSU agriculture students attended a reunion in honor of Hunt. After an evening spent reminiscing with their former professor, Betty Hadley Barnett and Keith Hunter came up with the idea of endowing a scholarship in Hunt’s name. Jeff Winningham, Kerry Smith and Chad Pugh also helped with the effort.
“It was no trouble at all getting former students to participate, and a rewarding surprise to see the level of support generated through area agribusiness’ and related organizations, such as the CO-OP and Farm Bureau,” Settle said. “In less than three months from the initial discussions, we have exceeded the minimum required to establish the endowment and are continuing the effort in order to provide even more opportunities for current and future agriculture students.”
The new scholarship will be awarded every academic year to an undergraduate agriculture major with at least a 3.0 GPA. To be eligible for the renewable scholarship, students must be enrolled full time and a rising sophomore, junior or senior at APSU.
“For an educator like Doc, who dedicated his life’s work to educating, developing and helping students, the greatest gift we can give is to keep that work going,” Settle said. “The endowment of a permanent scholarship is our opportunity to do this. Our combined gifts will honor Dr. Hunt and insure his ability to continue reaching future agriculture students.”